Posted by: Kathy | October 20, 2009

Difficult Memories

As I wrote in my last post, these next few weeks will be difficult ones as we near the 1 year anniversary of my mom’s death. Memories of “this time last year” weigh heavily on my heart. I can’t help but remember those times and the feelings that went along with them, most often sadness and fear. The emotions from these times are ingrained in my heart, the pictures still float through my mind.

A year ago today my mom had surgery to “fix” a complication associated with the pancreatic cancer. This surgery wouldn’t save her or even give her more time, it would just make the time she had left more bearable. Recent tests revealed that the cancer marker had increased by almost 9 times from what it had been a month before, a sign that the cancer was spreading and was not responding to chemotherapy anymore. So I hoped that this surgery would help my mom and relieve some of her discomfort and pain.

The surgery was a success in terms of what it was meant to do. But it took a toll on my mom, as her heart rate and temperature both shot up following the surgery. At one point a doctor even asked my dad what measures, if any, should be taken if there was a serious problem. I hadn’t planned on going to the hospital that night. My dad was there, along with some very close friends. The surgery was over, my mom sleeping. I didn’t want to bother her. But something didn’t feel right and I couldn’t talk to my mom on the phone to judge for myself how she was doing. Even though visiting hours were over at 8 pm, and it was a little after 7 pm at that point, I raced over to the hospital. I needed to see my mom, even if it was just for a few minutes.

My mom was sleeping when I got there, but it wasn’t a peaceful sleep. I could see that she still had a fever and the pulse in her neck was beating wildly. I was scared. The vibrant woman I knew as my mom wasn’t there anymore. In her place was someone who was very sick and weak. I sat next to my mom, held her hand, and prayed that she would pull through this, that we would have more time. My mom did wake up before I left, her fever broke, and her heart rate was better. I left the hospital with a feeling of hope, but was also filled with uncertainty regarding what the coming days and weeks would bring.

Even now a year later, I can picture her lying in that hospital bed. I am filled with the same feelings of fear, dread, and sadness. It was a time when all I wanted to do was help my mom, but didn’t know how. The only thing I could do was hope and pray.

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